How to Choose a Montessori School for your children?

Choosing a Montessori school is not easy. When you’re looking for a school for your children, you want the best, of course, so it’s not something to be taken lightly. Even less when visiting independent schools, for which registration fees are very high, since they do not receive any help from the State.


So all the chances on his side and ask the right questions, rather than being disappointed during the year. Because we all know families who have enrolled their children in a school and who 6 months later remove them because something went wrong.

These are testimonials that I read often, but each time the problems encountered revolve around the same themes and I am convinced that all the problems could have been avoided if the parents had been able to inquire more deeply at the beginning.

And for Montessori schools, the potential worries come down to a dozen problematic points.

I suggest you 10 questions to ask yourself before choosing a Montessori school for your children. I will detail each question in depth here, but if you have planned to participate in the open house of a school or have an interview with the director, you will find on our library of resources, the Terrier des Montessouricettes, a summary of these 10 questions with room to take notes and thus be able to compare different schools easily, on the same criteria.

Be careful, for some of these questions, there is not a “good answer”, a good kind of school, it will depend on your personal values ??and what you are attached to!

So let’s go, with four big categories of questions!

Administrative aspects to understand before choosing a Montessori school

You can usually answer these questions without even moving. A simple visit to the school’s website or a telephone interview is enough to gather this valuable information before visiting and choosing a Montessori school.

1. What is the status and educational project of the school?

Above all, you should know that there are three statutes for schools: public, private contract, private contract (or independent).

  • Public schools are free, fully funded by the State and follow the programs and instructions of the National Education. Teachers are therefore civil servants and parents only have to pay for basic supplies.
  • The private schools under contract are independent schools which, after 5 years of existence, have asked the State to enter into a contract with it. There are two types: the simple contract, in which greater freedom is left to the school in its schedules and its program, and the association contract, by which the school must respect the schedules and the program of National Education much more scrupulously, and must meet an educational need that public schools were not enough.

In both cases, teachers are paid by the state , even if their status is different. The advantage for schools with an association contract is that they also benefit from local authority support.

The important thing to remember is that in a private school under contract, teachers are paid by the state and that there may be public aid granted to the school. The registration fees paid by the parents are therefore used to pay the running costs (premises, equipment, heating, etc.). Moreover, these schools must generally follow the National Education program, with some possible adjustments, and each school can implement its “own character” (for example with optional catechesis in Catholic schools, adapted menus in Jewish and Muslim schools etc.).

  • Finally, independent (or “non-contract”) schools have a very different status. They must of course respect obligations in terms of hygiene, safety and respect for everyone but they have complete educational freedom. In return, they must ensure their financing entirely alone. They live only through student registration fees and donations.
choosing Montessori school

What consequences for you before choosing a Montessori school? Well, a public school must respect many constraints, many of which make Montessori practice very difficult: multiple classes are rare, and very rarely include children from 3 to 6 years old, from 6 to 9, from 9 to 12, or even better from 6 to 12 years, as in Montessori educational environment …

Likewise, all teachers must respect the same schedules, which require, among other things, a break, which cuts in two the famous Montessori work cycle of 3 hours in a row (which allows children to reach a greater degree of concentration) .

Moreover, the scrupulous respect of the programs from year to year is hardly compatible with the respect of the rhythm of the child and its progression: some children will be able to read perfectly from 5 years old but will wait the level CE1 before knowing how to make additions and Conversely. In the National Education, these disparities are problematic and the child risks repeating. Finally, if in a school there is only one Montessori class, it is difficult to ensure continuity when the children change level, and the other teachers are generally reluctant, because they will recover necessarily heterogeneous students, since they will have advanced each at their own pace.

A school under contract generally has a little more pedagogical freedom (I spent all my kindergarten and my primary school in a private school under contract which had a traditional sector and a Montessori sector, with high quality teachers), but not always, so you have to find out.

The advantage of non-contract schools is that they can, for their part, respect Montessori pedagogy very faithfully, but before choosing an independent Montessori school, you have to learn about their pedagogical project, because some choose to mix several pedagogies. which is always delicate.

To give you two examples: in Steiner pedagogy, it is estimated that children do not have formal, so no learning of reading or calculation before 6 years, which is hardly compatible with the notion of Montessori sensitive period , On the contrary, it encourages children to start learning to read or calculate between 3 and 6 years of age. Similarly, Freinet pedagogy emphasizes cooperation and teamwork from an early age, while in Montessori pedagogy we first help the child develop his autonomy before encouraging group work, rather adolescence.

On another level, some schools are denominational and others are not: it’s up to you to see what it means and if it’s compatible with your personal values. Some highlight other strengths in their educational project, such as ecology and sustainable development, bilingualism, yoga practice etc. Again, it’s up to you to see what’s important to you.

Regarding Montessori schools, you should also know that any school can claim to be Montessori … There is certainly a charter created by the Association Montessori Internationle (AMI) to provide a framework for schools that wish. It can therefore be a criterion of choice: if the school that interests you has signed the AMI charter, you are assured of a certain number of things (training of educators by the MAI, equipment approved by the MAI, mixture of ages in classes, working cycles of 3 hours uninterrupted morning and afternoon etc.).

However, there are many excellent schools that have chosen not to adhere to this charter , most often for cost issues, because AMI training is very expensive and there are other less expensive training centers that are all the same is true of the material that educators sometimes make themselves or purchase from shops other than the few that are approved by the MAI, which are very expensive.

This big issue of status and educational project is the most important to choose a Montessori school because it determines a lot of things, you will see that others are much simpler and immediate.

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Alex Hales

I am (Alex Hales) writing about technology since a long time now. I have gained ample knowledge & information about the advancements in technology by conducting thorough researches on a daily basis. I convert this information into knowledge through my writings for people to read. Writing for technology is my passion and I have an expertise in this domain.